Tamoxifen and Breast Cancer

Michael W. DeGregorio and Valerie J. Wiebe

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Tamoxifen is one of the most widely prescribed drugs used to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. A nonsteroidal antiestrogen, it has been successful in treating postmenopausal women at nearly all stages of breast cancer. Despite its popularity, disturbing questions remain about the use of this drug. How effective is tamoxifen in treating patients who have hormone-insensitive breast tumors or who have not yet reached menopause? What are the potential risks in taking tamoxifen, and do they ever outweigh its benefits? Should tamoxifen be administered as a prophylactic drug for healthy premenopausal women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer?

In this vitally important book, two leading scientific investigators present a balanced and accessible discussion of the diagnosis of breast cancer and the risks, benefits, and limitations of treatment alternatives, particularly tamoxifen. Michael W. DeGregorio and Valerie J. Wiebe discuss the history and evolution of tamoxifen as a treatment for breast cancer, explaining how it works, what its side effects are, and why tamoxifen treatment is unsuccessful for some women. They present the controversies surrounding the National Cancer Institute's study of tamoxifen as a preventive for breast cancer, describing the hopes of the proponents of the study and the fears of its detractors (potential risks to women in the study include thrombosis, uterine cancer, and even breast cancer itself). The book is an invaluable aid to women faced with decisions about treatment or prevention of breast cancer.

Michael W. DeGregorio is professor of medicine and Valerie J. Wiebe is assistant professor of medicine and pharmacy at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. In 1992 DeGregorio testified before the U.S. Congress on the possible risks of tamoxifen as a prophylactic drug.

"A very important and timely subject matter that will surely interest women (and many men) both in this country and abroad."—Christopher C. Benz, M.D., Cancer Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco

"At last—the facts about tamoxifen made available to the public through this book. One of the problems with breast cancer is that there are no easy answers. DeGregorio and Wiebe matter of factly expose the tamoxifen issues to the light of day. Who should take tamoxifen? For how long? While answering some basic questions this book raises other scary ones so that thinking women can consider their options."—Barbara Balaban, Co-author, The Breast Cancer Handbook

"A thorough examination of [tamoxifen's] development, use, side effects, failures, and the wisdom of prescribing the drug to healthy yet at-risk patients."—Science News

"Well written and referenced throughout. . . . For health-care professionals, the book would be an invaluable asset for updating knowledge in this particular field. It is especially valuable to those who are involved with women faced with making decisions about the various treatments available to them."—Elgin Schartau-Oporto, Nursing Times

"The authors of Tamoxifen & Breast Cancer cover the drug and the disease in an easily understood manner. It's difficult to find a single resource that condenses so much information and is also a quick, easy read."—Beh Ingle, oncology nurse at the Orlando Cancer Center, Advance/PA

ISBN: 9780300079517
Publication Date: November 10, 1999
128 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
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